Richmond Review

Spooky discovery

Tombstone discovered at Laurel Heights


A plumbing crew working on Iris Avenue in the Laurel Heights was astonished to find a

large marble tombstone buried under a house they were working on.



A worker named Joe, who was working for Lowe’s Plumbing, discovered
a buried tombstone from a time when the land was home to the Laurel Hill Cemetery.


A worker named Joe was digging when he struck the tombstone; a first for the 18-year

employee of Lowe’s Plumbing. The site was formerly the Laurel Hill Cemetery.


In the early ’30s, the bodies at the site were dug up and transported to Colma for reburial

so the land could be used for a growing city. No bodies were discovered at the Iris

Avenue site.


A tombstone was discovered by plumbers working under
a house on Iris Avenue. Photos: Rose Hillson.

There are several names on the tombstone, including Charles Cooper, an immigrant from

Germany who died at the turn of the 20th century. According to, Charles

Cooper was born on Dec. 29, 1832, and died in San Francisco on Aug. 26, 1902. He was

married to Elizabeth Cooper and was the father of Mrs. Henry Herman.


Cooper’s first wife, Catherine Ryan, from Cork, Ireland, died at 27 years of age just

shortly after giving birth to the couple’s son, William Henry. The infant passed away at

just 13 days old.


The tombstone was reburied at the site.

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